Parliament Grants Blank Cheque to Combat Floods


In the face of devastating floods claiming lives and displacing thousands, Parliament has taken an unprecedented step, granting the government a blank cheque to tackle the crisis. This move comes as President William Ruto’s administration seeks Ksh10.6 billion to confront the relentless deluge wreaking havoc across the nation.

The Parliamentary Committee on Budget, in a session held on Monday, May 6, authorised the government to spend without constraints, signalling a determined effort to address the dire consequences of ongoing rains.

Budget Committee Chairperson Ndindi Nyoro assured flood-affected residents that parliamentary approval would not hinder the government’s efforts. “Let us use the money to take care of Kenyans,” Nyoro stated emphatically, indicating a prioritisation of swift action over bureaucratic red tape. 

“When issues of how much you have spent come to parliament, I want to assure all the government institutions we are going to approve all expenditures,” he added.

The gravity of the situation is stark, with over 238 fatalities reported by the Ministry of Interior.

Additionally, 75 individuals remain missing, while 174 others have sustained injuries due to the floods. The toll on livelihoods is profound, with approximately 235,000 people displaced from 47,000 households.

Infrastructure damage is widespread, with roads, schools, and homes bearing the brunt of nature’s fury. The extent of destruction extends to crops and livestock, with over 4,003 animals lost and 7,533 acres of farmland ruined.

An aerial view of the Mai Mahiu flooding tragedy (left) and government officials inspecting the tunnel that was blocked.

DPPS

In the Supplementary Budget tabled in Parliament last week, the National Treasury requested for an additional Ksh6.3 billion in resources, with total expenditure on flood mitigation set to reach nearly Ksh20 billion.

As per the latest supplementary budget estimates, the projected spending to combat the impact of flooding is set to soar to Ksh19.9 billion for the current fiscal year, culminating on June 30.

This estimate includes the Ksh13.6 billion already greenlit for expenditure by the exchequer under the auspices of Article 223 spending, which allows the Treasury autonomy in fund disbursement without requiring parliamentary approval.

Under this provision, the National Treasury has already allocated Ksh8.8 billion towards various flood mitigation endeavours. Notably, the State Department for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands has emerged as the top beneficiary, receiving a substantial disbursement of Ksh4.3 billion. These funds are earmarked for humanitarian emergency response initiatives catering to individuals impacted by both floods and drought.

Of the additional Ksh6.3 billion sought by the exchequer, the State Department for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands is anticipated to secure a further Ksh4.6 billion to bolster its flood mitigation strategies. Meanwhile, a significant portion amounting to Ksh1.1 billion is slated for allocation to the State Department of Cooperatives, primarily aimed at managing the surplus milk production resulting from heightened rainfall.

Notably, the Cooperatives State Department had previously received Ksh500 million for this purpose under pre-approved expenditures.

In a concerted effort to tackle the crisis, various ministries and State departments have received allocations from the exchequer. The Ministry of Defence, for instance, has tapped into a fund of Sh500 million, while the State Department of Roads has been allocated a staggering Ksh1 billion.

Additionally, the State Department of Public Works has been allocated Ksh30 million to aid in flood mitigation efforts.

Moreover, the State departments of irrigation, livestock, and crop development have each received allocations amounting to Ksh70 million, Ksh35 million, and Ksh65 million, respectively, further amplifying the government’s multi-pronged approach towards addressing the crisis.

President Ruto promised Ksh10,000 each to over 40,000 households whose houses were demolished for being on riparian land in Nairobi.

A bus belonging to Moi Girls High School swept by floods.

Photo

Godfrey



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